Many Guild Wars 2 players may not be familiar with the Dragon Bash festival. If you don’t recall the Dragon Bash festival in 2013, don’t fret too much, it was a festival full of special events marking Tyria’s markedly defiant resolve against the Elder Dragons. Though this event may have largely fell to the wayside in recent years, it is now back with a fervor that will likely entice players to travel to a location rarely visited these days, Hoelbrak. In our hands-on preview, we were able to check out the new Dragon Bash festival, peruse the various merchants strewn about Hoelbrak, and even battle some holograms. Here is everything you can expect in this years Dragon Bash.
Upon entering Hoelbrak you may be slightly off-kilter like I was. Hoelbrak is the Norn “social center”, but it is hardly social for the majority of players in GW2. The home-zones are not visited often, but this is one feature, by hosting the Dragon Bash there, that entices players to visit one of the less popular areas of the game. For those that don’t spend every gaming hour in Guild Wars 2 in Hoelbrak, the landscape has changed some, with new vendors, pinatas, and a host of different landmarks that are unfamiliar to even the most well trekked of Hoelbrakian Norns. Generally, players won’t be languishing around sightseeing, instead, there are a host of different activities to participate in and rewards to earn.
For the combat-oriented Tyrian, the Dragon Arena will challenge your abilities as you fight an increasingly difficult array of enemies. Here, you and hopefully a group will take on enemies from Ice Beasts to Hydras, with hordes of enemies fluttering about between the larger, tougher battles. This was the game mode I spent the most time in, as the combat was challenging and fun. Even with a group of 4, there were enemies we were not able to beat in the timeframe required. I’m looking forward to giving the Dragon Arena more of my playtime so that I can defeat all of the holographic baddies one stage at a time. Players may also notice a Hologram Stampede in other map areas, where enemies will parade the countryside just looking for a fight.
If challenging, drawn out battles aren’t your forte, the Dragon Bash Rally may be more to your liking. In the Dragon Rally, you will have to mount up, and race around Hoelbrak, beating the clock or suffering a disappointing failure. I have never been one for races in Guild Wars 2, but the race itself isn’t difficult necessarily, you just need to watch the clock and make sure you hit your marks properly or you will never complete the 3 laps necessary to win. Although I raced by myself, I wasn’t able to complete the race my first go ‘round due to missing a couple marks and not realizing I would have to go back and get them. For mount racing fans, this event certainly won’t disappoint.
The last “major” event is one where players are a little more hands-off. It’s the Moa Race! The Racing Moas are back, and racing for glory. You can place your bets, and cheer on the winning moa to your hearts content. This event will be ideal for players that may find the Dragon Arena too challenging without a group, and they aren’t fans of Mount racing. Just remember, when you bet, your Moa’s glory is your own, there is nothing wrong with gloating about it. As you traverse the area of Hoelbrak you will find piñatas along the way. When broken, they will spill candy that you can obtain and trade in for all kinds of rewards. All kinds of dragon wear, and minis will be available for purchase, and for those that may already have versions of these skins already, brand new items will be available in the Gem Store which will include a new Skyscale mount pack, a new mini hatchling Skyscale collection, and a Skyscale Horn set.
I may not have many memories, or any memories, of the previous Dragon Bash festival, but the new Dragon Bash festival is certainly one that I see returning again in the future. Take in the sights of holographic dragons and throw up some fireworks in solidarity to the resistance against the Elder Dragons. Join in on the festivities in Hoelbrak, smash some piñatas, race all-out on your mounts, battle some holographic baddies, and bet big on some Moa’s in this years Dragon Bash 2019.